The Trump administration has been reviewing tariffs of up to 25-percent on imported vehicles, like those from South Korea,citing job losses and negative effects on the domestic auto industry.
President Trump was supposed to make a decision on this issue by May 18th.
And South Korean carmakers are breathing a sigh of relief, after Bloomberg reported that the U.S. not only plans to postpone the decisionbut also exempt South Korea from any future tariffs.
Bloomberg cited a draft executive order and said South Korea, Canada and Mexico are exempt from the new levies.
The revised Seoul-Washington free trade agreement came into force in January, and analysts say this might have settled the possible trade disputes in advance.
The South Korean government is taking a cautious stance toward the issue.
Deputy minister for trade Kim Yong-rae said on Thursdaythat the news itself isn't bad, but emphasized that Korea should wait until the U.S. government's official announcement.
Korean officials have been continuously expressing the nation's stance on auto tariffs to the U.S.
For instance, Seoul's trade minister Yoo Myung-hee met with U.S. officials this week in Washington, calling for an exemption from the potential tariffs.
The situation is similar for Canada and Mexico, because the two countries renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTAand are preparing for a new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg added President Trump will give the European Union and Japan 180 days to agree to a deal that would 'limit or restrict' auto imports into the U.S.
An expert in the field explained the reason behind the decision.
"Now that the U.S.-China trade friction is entering a new phase, President Trump may decide on auto tariffs as he looks at the progress of negotiations with China.
I think he strategically delayed the tariff decision."
If the Trump administration goes through with the auto tariffs, the U.S. could face fresh global trade clashes because the EU has already prepared a list of retaliatory duties.
Ko Roon-hee, Arirang News.